Without Your Head interview with Dieter Laser
Recap of Dieter Laser on
Without Your Head Horror Radio, 06/04/2015
by Vic Schiavone
Hosts Nasty Neal and Annabelle Lecter were joined by an icon of modern horror film, the man who brought to life Dr. Heiter of “Human Centipede” and now Bill Boss of “Human Centipede 3”, Dieter Laser.
Highlights included the following:
·WYH - NN: Just a few weeks ago we were with you at the premier of “Human Centipede 3” in Los Angeles. What was that experience like for you to see the film with an audience of people and was that your first time seeing the finished Part Three?
DL: “I hadn’t seen the film before, and I was quite excited. I (wasn’t) nervous; I was just excited…to see it finally. During shooting…I never watch myself, and therefore I had no idea how it would look and how it would work. Because…Tom (Six) is so at ease and so well-prepared…I felt absolutely safe and sound and full of joy.”
·WYH - AL: You do get so into character while you're working; how do you decompress when you're done? How long does it take to get back to Dieter Laser?
DL: “In a second. But, during the whole day trying to stay in character,…sometimes I switch it off switch it on again. The most important stuff of that is to save energy…not to lose energy (through) chit chats and small talk and so on; just to be a little more concentrated, like a computer on standby. So, (I can) get into the part very fast, and I discovered that people don’t dare to talk to you and if you are running around with a really serious and angry face, staring at the floor, or sitting near the camera, people will let you alone. And that’s very important for the energy, to keep the emotions you have gathered for the part and…to keep them on fire, so that when you have to jump that you immediately can use it and not have to switch between a joke or small talk or chit chat…and then you have to jump in your part. To avoid that, to save energy and be fast, that’s how I “stay in character”. But…, when the work is done, in half a second I’m back (to being) Dieter Laser but I’m so full of Adrenalin that…I’m really talkative, and don’t drive with me back to the hotel because you are (tired) afterward of my talking…The whole day I only do my lines and don’t talk a lot so the silence…in my system has (built up). So, in the evening, avoid me and don’t listen to me because I will joke and talk and may (annoy) you with my talking.”
·WYH - NN: You mentioned being really comfortable with Tom Six. Was it the same way when you made the first “Human Centipede” or do you think working with him on a second movie strengthened the working relationship between you two?
DL: “When I read a script from Tom Six, and I read them both, my first reaction is I’m shocked…He tells me the story, and then I’m excited because he’s such a wonderful storyteller. You see everything, you see every scene, and you go home excited. The first film, we had a wonderful meeting in Berlin; he told me everything. The third part, we met in London and he told me that whole story…Then the long pre-production time starts, and the story he told you is working in your system…Finally, the final draft of the script arrives at home. In both cases, I was shocked reading the script. With Part 3…the 100% Political Incorrectness shocked me 100%. So, I reacted like a good audience for Tom Six films. With Part 3, I was so shocked that I said ‘Oh Tom, I can’t play that,’ and I started to refuse to play the part. Thank God…he didn’t give up. He tried to convince me, but he didn’t change anything in the script. But he didn’t give up trying to convince me. And finally, in a four-hour meeting at the airport in Amsterdam…he managed to show me, to open my eyes and to convince me and show me the comedy in it. (With) the 100% political incorrectness, I couldn’t in my stubborn German way…realize the comedy in it. I took it 100% seriously, and then he opened my eyes and the fun started and we together developed the part…He knew how I would play it, and I knew precisely what he wanted. So Tom and I, at night when we finished the day’s work, sat together with the cameraman and…we told him how I would do it the next day…That was enough, and because of our working relationship, Tom is the only director where I can manage very often to do things in one shot…We tried to avoid any rehearsal because the vibration of the first shot is very precious, because the air is moving or there are vibrations in the air. If you do the third or tenth shot of the same stuff, there is something lost. It’s sometimes too perfect or too calculated. That’s why we love to do it in one shot.”
·WYH - AL: The castration scene in “Human Centipede 3” was actually my favorite scene in the movie, because it just seems for that character that moment is the absolute highlight in his power, where he really is so raw in his emotion. Was that something scripted or was it something you came up with spontaneously?
DL: “That was a spontaneous action. The scene was already done when suddenly I did that. I didn’t know it would happen, but it happened…Thank God, Tom is so smart and knows me so well that he just waited…That’s the victory over his enemy; the blood of his enemy. To have him wash his face in it, his head in it; I call it the ‘snake head’. Tom very early said to me, ‘Always think about the desert.’ At home here I have a snake picture, the profile of a desert snake, and that inspired me a lot. The bald head is as well in the direction of a snake in the desert, because the goal…is to go far beyond a normal character, a normal realistic guy. Our goal was from the (start) to go as far as possible over the top, to go as cartoonish and comic strip like as possible; over beyond every boundary so it’s more in my vision, and our goal was to create more a creature than a human being. And so you can say it’s the desert snake of evil in the disguise or in the form of a warden.”
·WYH - AL: In watching the film (“Human Centipede 3”) I noticed that there are times when, in particular your performance, it almost feels more like a stage performance where you would be in a live theater with a live audience. Do you agree with that?
DL: “Yes. As I said, the goal was from the (start) to go over the top. And as I say, I’m a cartoonish person. Every morning in makeup I would say to do my eyelashes more than any hooker would bear to do, make my face as thick with a layer of makeup as possible, shave my head as smooth as possible because I want to go over the top. If you feel that’s a kind of stage performance or theatrical performance, sure. Every cartoon is big theater and every comic strip is big theater and it’s too much. And that was my goal for this part from the (start). The same with Dr. Heiter; in a very different way he’s also a cartoon figure for me. It’s cartoonish…the too much dyed hair of Dr. Heiter together with his 1930 doctor’s coat. For me, it’s like a drawing. It’s like a comic strip character. And that’s the goal from the (start). That sometimes shocks you, sometimes you are afraid to see that, and sometimes you have to laugh. And that is precisely the goal. With Part 3 it’s so over the top, and it was from the (start) the wish of Tom; to say he’s always too loud, unnerving…he’s stupid, he is just a complete idiot, and that’s what we tried to reach and we reached it. And I said, let’s make him a German; then he will have the same bad accent which you can hear now live…The thickest possible German stupid idiotic accent, that’s what I wanted to have and I reached that.”
·WYH - NN: How have the Human Centipede movies changed Dieter Laser’s life?
DL: “I’m not a fan of normal horror films, let’s say I haven’t been a fan, and I never would have thought that one day I would play in horror films. But now after those two times with Tom, I’m addicted, and I’m eagerly waiting already for our next work because I love so much to work with him. And I was astonished by the horror family; what sweet people the audience is…I met a lot of them during the Texas Frightmare weekend and they were so sweet, the community. What I get on Facebook, what I see on Twitter, I love these people who are horror fans. I never would have imagined that before. And I decided to continue in that realm in that kind of film, and I would be an idiot not to continue our work because Tom, Ilona (Six), and I we are a dream team. And we will become better and better and better and even more shocking more shocking more shocking and more over the top. So, you have to watch it, because one day you have to be afraid that the (theater) will explode because the (movie) is so strong.”
Other topics discussed included:
· Is it strange for him to have people love the villains he plays?
· Which role was harder for him to get into, Dr. Heiter or Bill Boss?
· Was he surprised when the first “Human Centipede” movie started to get mainstream attention?
· What was the movie or set of movies that Tom Six saw that made him want to use him in the first “Human Centipede” movie?
This interview is available for listening at